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Inside the December 2013 Issue: Updates to Top Doctors and Tom Whalen's Fan Art


With the winter months fast approaching, now is the time I start pining for warmer climes. My father-in-law lives outside of Orlando, and every year, we make our pilgrimage south. Having initially OD’d on all things Disney, we took a few years off. This Christmas, however, we’ll be hitting the amusement park circuit with renewed vigor.

At least, my daughter will be. I actually do enjoy Florida (in measured doses). But, as for Disney, the place gives me an anxiety attack—literally.

You may have heard about the resourceful filmmaker who somehow managed to capture tons of footage for his indie horror flick, Escape From Tomorrow, within the confines of Disneyland and Disney World without permission. (As you read this, he may well be facing a mammoth lawsuit.) Director Randy Moore’s tale of a middle-aged man who loses his marbles during a family vacation certainly strikes a chord. The poster promoting the film, which saw limited release this fall, offers a depiction of Mickey’s white-gloved hand covered in blood. Classic stuff.

Equally classic—albeit in a far different way—are the commemorative creations by Royersford’s Tom Whalen. Thanks to his affiliation with Mondo, the leading manufacturer of licensed collectible posters, Whalen has done commissions for such mighty entertainment beasts as Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, DC and Warner Bros. His work is a stunning, stylized fusion of nostalgia, whimsy, bold color contrasts and vintage characterizations. “I’d been doing fan art pieces for a few years and posting them online,” says Whalen. “As a result, I was contacted by Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles, and they asked me to participate in their Crazy 4 Cult show in 2009. That led to more events and more exposure. From there, Mondo added me to their roster.”

For his part, Whalen finds the premise behind Escape From Tomorrow “crazy.” With two small children, though, he’s an unabashed Disney fan by necessity. “I’ve been to both parks,” says Whalen. “And we’re probably going again for my son in a year or so.”

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: It was nothing less than a trial by fire for assistant editor Melissa Jacobs, who can now say that she’s successfully tackled her first Top Doctors feature. With a number of new categories and subcategories to contend with, Jacobs had her hands full. For readers, the result is our most comprehensive and authoritative list yet. As part of our annual Top Docs package, Jacobs also recounts six compelling real-life stories from our local emergency rooms.

Enjoy the holidays, wherever you are.

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